Wednesday, November 5, 2014

IWSG - Procrastination

The Insecure Writer's Support Group is a once-monthly blog hop originated by our very sci-fi ninja, Alex J. Cavanaugh, and which now has a permanent home at the IWSG site. Every first Wednesday of the month we gather to connect with one another, to share our thoughts and our insecurities, and to offer one another the kind of guidance and reassurance that only another author can provide.

This month I wanted to talk about the single greatest challenge that plagues my writing - procrastination.

I know it's my greatest flaw, and I'm all too aware of when I'm doing it, but I'll be damned if I can find my way past it. There always seems to be something else that needs to be done, especially with all the health and career challenges our family has gone though over the past few months. Excuses are plentiful . . . but they all come down to procrastination.

I've tried scheduling writing time for myself, but that never seems to work. Again, there are plenty of excuses there - it's not the right time, it's not enough time, etc. - but they all come down to the same thing . . . procrastination. It drives me nuts.

I have a novella that's one solid edit away from being ready for submission, and the story runs through my head whenever I can't do anything about it (when I'm driving, sitting on a conference call at work, etc.). I also have a full-length novel begging for a final rewrite, complete with notes and commentary from a friend who took the time to read it through. That's a bit more daunting, because it does need some major work in places, but I know precisely what needs to be done.

Procrastination ever get in your way? If so, let us know how you cope.


  1. Sorry about the health issues.
    I'm a procrastinator. And a lazy writer. Not a good combination. For me, it takes a deadline to make me move.

  2. YES. One of the best ways I've dealt with it was by looping in critique partners and beta readers. If I give them a deadline, I feel totally obligated. I also recently joined a critique group, and it's expected EXPECTED that I submit something to be critiqued about once a month. *gulp* So yeah, it's all about accountability, eh?

    Unleashing the Dreamworld

  3. I want to second what Crystal said. My critique group schedule forces me to produce 30 pages of quasi-edited material every month or so. That schedule lights a fire under me and makes me sit down and write, whether I feel like it or not.
    Elizabeth Hein - Scribbling in the Storage Room

  4. Always. There's a bit of dread that fuels my procrastination. What if I start and something happens to pull me away from writing just when I settle into it? This always happens and sometimes I allow it to prevent me from even starting.

    I've found the best remedy is to turn off my internet. Then I set a timer. I must think or write about that story until the timer goes off, then I get a 10 minute break. But no longer than that! If I take more time I often don't come back at all. I've recently started doing exercise during that 10 minutes and it really helps.

    Good luck!

  5. I'm as guilty as the next writer (or those who commented ahead of me. Deadlines really help. I may not always hit my self-imposed deadline, but at least I'm moving forward. Good luck!

  6. Give yourself a deadline. Have an accountability partner. And, think where you'll be in five years if you DON'T get busy. The time is now. One step at a time.
    Play off the Page

  7. I haven't quite figured out the procrastination problem. I try to schedule myself, too, and it never works. I guess when you give yourself a deadline it's easy to just forget about it.

  8. You sound exactly like me! But while I am a procrastinator, I always meet my deadlines and responsibilities. You should schedule a writing friend and meet away from your house. I met mine at the library and we committed to half a day... from 9 to 2. You might not can do more than an hour or two but during that time you could edit. This really, really works. My friend and I met every other week. I hate being a procrastinator and I can tell you do too. :) It's a curse, isn't it?

  9. *raises hand* I'm also guilty!
    From the above comments, it seems like solid deadlines and accountability to CP's/writing group, are the answers to beating procrastination.

  10. I definitely need deadlines. Without a solid deadline, I have this proven ability to keep putting things off until approximately never.

  11. We all deal with procrastination. There are some wonderful suggestions here and they all echo the same things: have someone to be accountable to, give your self a deadline and make sure someone else can hold you to it and try setting a timer. You can always set the timer and tell yourself that if you write for 15/30/60 minutes you can quit...and I guarantee you'll keep going!


  12. Ah, don't we all have a little procrastinator inside us? I blame Facebook. But really, I agree with everybody else, getting an external pressure like a crit partner or beta reader helps to keep you on track. Good luck with your writerly endeavours!

  13. Deadlines are the only thing that kills my procrastination, and I'm not at that point yet. So if there's a magical answer, I'd love to hear it!

  14. I'm a procrastinator too. I haven't had a deadline in ages, but those seem to help me when I'm writing for a particular anthology.